Greek Style Stuffed Artichokes are super healthy and super delicious ~ even if you’ve never cooked one before, I’ll take you through the process step by step ~ these are too good to miss!
I grew up in the Northeast and we definitely didn’t eat many fresh artichokes, I only discovered them after I moved to California. My friends who grew up here take them for granted, and remember warm spring nights where piles of cheap and plentiful artichokes were steamed up for dinner…always with a big bowl of melted butter in the center of the table. Now that I have had my eyes opened to the wonders of artichokes, I know they are truly one of the joys of spring
When the specialty produce company Frieda’s sent me a box of gorgeous Fiore Viola purple artichokes to try, I knew I wanted to do something more than steam them and dip them in butter. With the foodie memory of my Provencal Stuffed Artichokes in the back of my mind, I set out to make a similar dish with a different flavor profile. Rosemary, lemon, olives, pine nuts, and feta cheese make a Greek themed stuffing that evokes another part of the Mediterranean. It’s a nice chunky, hearty stuffing with great tangy flavor.
I consider myself a hearty eater, and these artichokes are so meaty, and the crumb stuffing so satisfying, that I can easily make a meal out of one of them. A simple salad and a glass of wine and you’re set.
Prepping the artichokes is the part that always scared me away in the past, but I’ve learned that, like most scary things, it’s just a matter of doing it a couple of times. I lopped off an inch or so from the top and scooped out the inedible central parts – the purple leafy bits and the hairy choke. All you need is a teaspoon to do this, and it leaves you with a nice cavity for your stuffing. Have a bowl of lemon water handy to keep the prepped artichokes from browning. I steam them for a few minutes just to soften them and get them ready for stuffing.
Globe artichokes have tightly packed leaves, so I gently loosen them and pry the outer leaves open a bit so that some of the lovely stuffing gets into as many of the crevices as possible. The flavors permeate the whole thing as it bakes.
Another harbinger of spring is that my rosemary plants have lots of tender shoots growing from them. While rosemary is normally a ‘woody’ herb, the spring shoots are super tender. I highly recommend growing rosemary in your yard if you can, it’s hardy, and thrives almost anywhere. I snipped tons of it for the stuffing.
- 2 Tbsp olive oil (plus more for drizzling)
- 1 Tbsp unsalted butter
- 1/4 cup pine nuts
- 1 large clove garlic, minced
- 1 generous cup bread crumbs (I make my own with stale bread)
- 1 Tbsp fresh minced rosemary
- 10-12 marinated Greek olives, pitted and finely chopped
- 1/2 tsp salt
- lots of fresh cracked black pepper
- 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes (optional)
- 1 Tbsp finely grated Parmesan cheese
- 1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
- zest and juice of 1 lemon
- 2 large artichokes (I used Frieda's purple Fiore Viola)
- 2 lemons
- Set oven to 350F
- First make the stuffing. Heat the olive oil and butter in a skillet and saute the garlic and pine nuts for a few minutes.
- Add the bread crumbs to the pan, along with the rosemary, olives, salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes. Saute for about 5 minutes until everything is nice and toasty.
- Take off the heat and mix in the Parmesan cheese, and then toss with the feta and lemon zest.
- Prepare a large bowl of water and squeeze the juice of 1 lemon into it. Throw in the leftover lemon after it has been squeezed. You can use them to rub the cut parts of the artichokes as you work.
- Working with one artichoke at a time, trim the stem end of the artichokes so they will sit nicely in a baking dish. Use a large sharp knife to trim off the tops of the artichokes, maybe about 1 1/2 inches from the top.
- Use a small spoon to scoop out the inedible parts, the purple leafy bits and the hairy chokes. This will leave you with a cavity. Sprinkle the cut edges with lemon juice to prevent browning as you work. Put the finished artichoke cut side down, in the lemon water.
- Set a steamer basket in a large pot and fill just to the bottom of the basket with water. Bring the water to a boil and steam the two artichokes for about 15-20 minutes.
- Remove the artichokes and set them, face up, in a baking pan.
- When they are cool enough to handle, use your fingers to gently open the leaves and layers for stuffing. Fill the main cavity of each artichoke with the stuffing, and let the extra fall into as many layers and leaves as you can.
- Drizzle the artichokes with a little bit of olive oil and lemon juice. Pour 1/2 cup water in the bottom of the pan, cover loosely with foil, and bake for about 25 minutes. Be sure to check for doneness, because artichokes can vary a lot in size and density...a small sharp knife should pierce the bottom of the artichoke easily.
- Eat hot from the oven, with lemon wedges on the side.
To eat, pull the individual leaves off and eat the tender parts. The closer you get to the center, the more tender the leaves are, and when you get to the heart, just use a knife and fork to finish it off, that's the best part!
These beautiful artichokes are a sure sign that spring is actually on its way!